May 9, 2022 - News

Gay rights leader John E. Fryer's Philly home gets historic status

john fryer house
Front view of 138 W. Walnut Lane. Photo courtesy of the city's Historical Commission staff

The home of gay rights activist and psychiatrist John E. Fryer was recently added to Philly's Register of Historic Places.

  • Fryer lived there from 1972 until his death in 2003.

Context: Fryer famously addressed the American Psychiatric Association at its 1972 convention — wearing a mask and wig and referring to himself as "Dr. Anonymous" out of fear of retaliation — and announced, "I am a homosexual. I am a psychiatrist."

  • In that speech, he objected to the APA's classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder.
  • The APA voted to remove the classification one year later.

Of note: Fryer was honored with a historical marker last week in the heart of the Gayborhood.

 Dr. John Fryer (Dr. Anonymous) at the American Psychiatric Association’s 1972 national convention in Dallas. Photo credit: Kay Tobin, New York Public Library
John Fryer at the American Psychiatric Association's 1972 convention in Dallas. Photo courtesy of Kay Tobin, New York Public Library
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